Tom Gandy has been reflecting on a whirlwind few months which culminated in a top-25 finish in South Africa recently.
Following two seasons on the UK-based EuroPro Tour, the Rowany golfer’s blistering finish to 2019 saw him rack up a series of top-10 finishes to reach the final stage of European Tour Qualifying School in Spain in November.
Competing against a field of more than 150 players, his 29th place finish at Q-School saw him agonisingly miss out on a place on the full European Tour by only a single shot.
But that result earned him full Challenge Tour playing privileges for the coming year and he is likely to receive a number of invitations to full European Tour events during the season.
Across both tours, Gandy’s events this year will have a distinctly more international feel as he can expect to play on at least three continents, carrying the Manx flag to around a dozen countries.
Having finished tied 223rd in the South African Open in Johannesburg in early January, Gandy improved to end joint 117th in the recent RAM Cape Town Open before heading into the Dimension Data Pro-Am competition a fortnight ago.
The Rowany ace carded an opening round of 68 and followed it up with an effort of 70. The Manxman enjoyed a stellar third round by carding an excellent 66 to finish inside the daily top 10 ahead of former world number one Ernie Els.
The fourth and final round didn’t go exactly to plan but his effort of 74 ensured he ended the tournament on an impressive 11-under-par overall score of 278 which was enough to claim an excellent joint 25th place and £3,000 in prize money.
’It was cool to be around guys like that and it was a Pro-Am so some of the players were people you see on TV all the time - it was a great atmosphere and all fun.
’I’m playing golf in a foreign country in good weather, whereas in winters gone by I’ve been working in an office or building site.
’I just want to work hard, do well and not forget where I am and what’s going on because I am just living the dream. Since I was a kid I wanted to play the European Tour and I’m getting closer to it now.’
Gandy was also quick to praise the Manx public for all the support over the last few months, in particular when he was in action at Q-School.
’It’s great, it really is good the amount of people that reached out and that were watching the scores. I mean all I’m doing is playing golf so it’s great that people love it and want to see me do well.
’On the Isle of Man there are so many different athletes, so many different sports and it’s amazing how much success there is and I think it’s largely because of how good that community is and how loved you feel, how well supported you are.’
So what’s next for Gandy? ’With what happened at Q-School, I still have a category on the European Tour but it will only get you into select events, one of such is in Kenya between March 12-15.
’But the coronavirus outbreak has meant that two or three of the bigger events have been cancelled which could mean that a few guys might decide to play in Kenya instead which may mean I don’t get in.
’So I’m waiting to hear about that and, if not, it could be May until my next event, but from May we play pretty much every week.’
More from Tom Gandy
in next week’s edition of the Manx Independent